Tag Archive | dreams

List of Dreams

I need a little cheering up today, so I thought I’d update my list of dreams and desires. The last time I did this was seven years ago, when I was just starting this blog. Today, I feel the need to remind myself to hope. So here goes:

  • Learn to bake. I feel like it’s one of those things that indulges all the senses. With all the scents and textures and colors, the process itself seems like a feast for the senses even before the first bite of the finished cake.
  • Plant my dream garden. This is a crystal-clear vision that I’ve had all my life. Even in my grade school journals, there are pages and pages of drawings about how I want it to look. There will be big, shady trees with mossy trunks, wooden benches with ferns growing underneath, and lots of flowers that fill the air with scent. I want it to be lush, unruly, and magical.
  • Write a book about Cuyonon folktales and legends, before they’re forgotten. That means I need to become fluent in the language first so that I could talk with the island’s lolos and lolas who still remember the old stories. I also want to do the same for Pala’wan folklore.
  • Explore the Philippines. First on the list: Batanes in the far north. I’ve come to imagine it as my country’s own version of the Shire. After the Philippines, I want to see the rest of the world. There’s so much curiosity inside me.
  • Live in a bahay kubo-inspired house, with a stained glass window. I know those two architectural aesthetics don’t really go together, but the house should fit in naturally with the garden, and I have daydreams of lying on a couch with a book while the late afternoon sun throws patterns of colored light on the floor through the window.
  • Become a photographer. A really good one.  It’s a way to make fleeting moments of beauty last a little longer. It’s a way of remembering not to take them for granted.
  • Make writing my main job. This is actually terrifying. I don’t know if I’m good enough, or if I’ll earn enough, or get enough people to read me. There are so many risks, and I have so much yet to learn. Still, I can’t think of anything more satisfying than making a living by following my passion.
  • Start a library for kids. I want to fill it with books that made me fall in love with reading when I was a child. So many Filipino children never learn how wonderful books can be simply because they don’t have access to any, except for their textbooks (some public schools in impoverished areas don’t even have that). It’s heartbreaking. I don’t have money, connections, or expertise for such a big project, just a lot of desire. So much that I actually already have a list of titles I want to put on the shelves.
  • Build a tree house. I want one where I can spread a mat on the floor and listen to wind chimes, watch the sky changing colors with the sunset, and bask in the fragrance of orchids on the tree branches.

In making this list, I’m getting a clearer picture of my desires. I want a creative, risky life.  I want adventure, quiet moments, and an abundance of beauty around me. The world of nine-to-five jobs offers more security, but the more I try to make myself fit into it, the more I feel trapped and frustrated and inadequate. I don’t know how to do this. The life I planned for since I was in high school, the life my loved ones would be reassured to see me living, feels strange on my skin. It’s someone else’s life, and I keep failing in it. But I still don’t know if I’m ready to give up trying.

One of my “practice shots” which I took with a point-and-shoot mini digital camera. It was so much fun. Can’t wait to try this with a real one.


Daring to desire

I’m back in Dumaguete, back on the path that I took a detour from when I went to Cuyo. When I re-enrolled in the university, one of the teachers that I trusted enough  to talk to about my bipolar disorder kept reminding me to go slow, to not take on more than I can handle. Sensible advice, I know. I understand myself and this disease well enough by now to realize that what’s easy and effortless in the hypomanic stage can become insurmountable when the depression hits, as it inevitably will, eventually.

But I can sense restlessness building inside me, an impatient tension. There is so much more that I want to do, so many things that I want to be other than a student struggling for a diploma. I want to backpack around my country, and to work abroad as a humanitarian volunteer. I want to dance again. I want to listen to the stories in my head and put them on paper. I want to go kite surfing. I want to take pictures. I want to learn bird watching and use it to raise environmental awareness. I want to plant a garden. I want to return to Cuyo and build a life there. I want.

Instead, here I am, having to take it slow.

But somewhere in this frustration is a glowing center of delight in all these desires. It feels wonderful to want something again, to have dreams that go beyond next week or next month. Before my get-away to Cuyo, all I could see were the goals I had failed to reach, the disappointments, the defeats. Exhausted and disillusioned, I could barely find the courage necessary for hope. Just getting by took all the energy I had.

Now, I have all these exquisite longings inside me, bold and insistent, pulling me toward tomorrow, daring me to do more than exist. And I’m clinging to them with both hands, clinging fast to hope and desire, because with my courage and faith restored, anything is possible. Right now, I may be taking it slow, but I’ll get there. Eventually, I’ll get there, because I dare.

Day 23 — The last person you kissed

This soul-deep longing for a half-remembered dream bewilders me….

~from Prelude

My love,

The nights when we kiss are the sweetest nights of all. Sometimes it’s tender, achingly slow and saturated with meaning, all our deepest longings and promises being spoken without a word. Or it can be playful, softly teasing and utterly ecstatic, sweetened with joy and delighted laughter. There are also times when it’s passionate, intense, driven by heat and unleashed desire. But always, whenever and however you kiss me, I realize why it couldn’t possibly work with anyone else. Only you can make this happen: the whole world fades away, time slows down, and you become the single most important part of my universe. In that moment, the heartbreaks of the past are forgotten and the doubts of the future vanish — nothing else matters but your touch and the beat of your heart against mine. I know then that I am meant to kiss you and only you for the rest of my life.

You really are the man of my dreams. You know, literally. And someday, I hope I’ll wake up from dreaming into the breathtaking reality of your arms.

Waiting for you,



Day 18 — The person you wish you could be

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.  ~Anna Quindlen

Dear Future Self (or so I hope),

Over the years, whenever I thought of you, you’d always be doing different things. Writing a book. Tending a huge garden with lots of trees and all your favorite flowers. Counseling young people in your church or campus ministry. Hiking into the mountains to help the natives. Advocating environmental conservation. Watching the sunrise with the one you’ve been waiting for all your life. In every image, you’d be doing something meaningful, something that fulfills your potential and justifies the belief of the people you love. Something worthwhile.

But now I’m learning that there’s one thing more important than what you do — it’s who you are. And slowly, that picture is becoming clearer in my mind. I am gradually understanding the person I long to be — someone who is, in and of herself, worthwhile .

The first thing I see is that you are a woman of courage. Fear no longer keeps you from relishing life and all its possibilities, all its adventures. You are brave enough to take the greatest risk of all — the risk of letting yourself be known. By taking off the masks that you have worn for so long, you let others see who you really are, trusting, as you did when you were a child, that it is enough.  Vulnerability is still terrifying, and rejection still hurts, but you understand something that I am not yet brave enough to accept: that anything is better than being a stranger among those you love. So you take the chance.

And you are passionate. You have a fire in your heart that nothing can quench — not even bipolar disorder — because you have learned to let it burn for things that are eternal. You seek God with zeal, you love others with abandon, and you live every moment as intensely as you can. You are someone who is fully, intensely alive.

Most of all, — oh, how I ache for this to come true — you are peaceful. Somewhere along the way, you have come to forgive yourself, as others have forgiven you, for all the times you were less than brave, less than passionate, less than strong. You have come to accept grace not just as a concept, but as a desperately needed and freely offered gift. Somehow, you have managed to wrap your head around the idea that grace really is for you — that you are not disqualified just because you have not lived up to expectations. Rather, it is because you have failed that grace is given, so that you no longer have to carry the burden of your failure. And this is where your peace comes from — from letting go of your guilt, your helplessness, and your pride. Somehow, you have learned to surrender.

Looking at myself now, I can see that I am still profoundly different from you. All the things you know by heart are still only in my mind — knowledge, not wisdom. I am still afraid, timid, and confused. And yet I deeply, painfully long to look in the mirror and see you there, see someone worthwhile. I wonder if  it will happen. I wonder how long it will take.




Day 5 — Your Dreams

No matter how your heart is breaking, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true. ~from Cinderella

To everything I have ever dreamed of,

Things have changed, haven’t they? You used to be so clear and vivid, just almost within my grasp. From where I stood, the road toward you seemed straight and uncomplicated, unhindered by anything I couldn’t handle. Sure, I knew I would probably stumble a couple of times, but it wouldn’t stop me. You were beautiful, brilliant and bright, and I was coming for you.

And then life happened. I changed. My vision blurred, and I couldn’t see you so clearly anymore. You’re still there, but distant, out of my reach. And that road that seemed so simple? It had more roadblocks, more twists and turns than I could have imagined. At times, I felt that there wasn’t even a path, that I was walking on uncharted wilderness and going around and around in circles, never getting anywhere. Without fellow travelers I would already have given up.

But I am not alone on the road. And the people around me — sometimes they see you better than I can. They point me in your direction, telling me that you are too wonderful for me to give up. And every time I fall, they pick me up and dust me off, and kiss my wounded knees and scraped palms to make it better. They believe in me even when I don’t, and it makes me think that maybe, just maybe, I might have enough strength after all. These fellow pilgrims are God’s gift of grace to me, whether they know it or not, and if I ever reach my destination, thanking them will be the best part of the celebration.

Sooner or later, I will finally get to where you are.

Thinking of someday,



Epiphany in a Song*

What’s this life, anyway, what’s it to you and me

What’s it to anyone; who are we supposed to be?

Make me a storybook and write me away from here

I need a different now…

When you’re very young, you think that you know exactly what you want to be when you grow up. There are all these plans, these dreams, and the boundless optimism that they will all come true, that you will get to the place where you really want to be. But twenty or so years later, you realize that all the answers you thought you knew have faded like the images from a dream when you finally wake up. The maps you have carefully charted are suddenly outdated, impractical. Or maybe it is the optimism that was lost.

…Where we can wear each other for a while

And I’ll lend you my tears if I could borrow your smile

And we’ll get through tomorrow some other day

Happy after once upon these days…

Then it seems as if the horizon is forever out of your reach, and you begin to wonder if perhaps you should aim for another destination, an easier journey. But you can’t give up those old dreams just yet, so you linger on the path, maybe stop for a while and take notice of your surroundings, and of see how far you’ve already come. As you rest, there’s a temptation to go back to familiar lands, to the fields you’ve always known. But no matter how much you wish you could, you know that you can never truly return – you have gone too far and seen too much for those lands to feel like home again. So you wait some more, with another traveler perhaps, hoping for a renewal of strength for the road ahead.

…There are four roads to anywhere, four ways to everything

We were unbreakable; we spoke of destiny

Let’s take a moment out, and go where we never go

Let’s make a new world now…

After a while you begin to wonder if maybe you should try another course, different from the one you planned before you set out. True, this road may turn out to be more difficult, and you don’t have the maps, but it leads to the same destination. So now you have two choices: to stay on the path you know and try to muster up the enthusiasm, or to dare the unknown and embark on an adventure. Then you realize that maybe there is something to be said for having no undisputable directions, because then you can search for the way yourself; and the journey will be all the more precious to you.

…Then one day we’ll find when we’re looking back at this time

Wondering how we’ve come so far from this

And then we’ll close our eyes….

I’ll take a better world, I’ll take anything

I’ll take our little  world now….**

*This is for both of us, Legolas. =)

** lyrics from Chantal Kreviazuk’s song These Days


Little Dreams

Time is fleeting, and life is short. I do not know when my journey on earth will end, but I hope that I can fulfill these little dreams before it does. = )

  • go stargazing on a beach in El Nido once again
  • finish reading God’s Word from Genesis to Revelations
  • read the books I’ve always wanted to read but never had the chance
  • write my literary masterpiece – it do not know if I will ever become a published writer, but I do want to be able to read my own work and know that I have put all my heart and soul into those words.
  • learn Cuyonon, my father’s native dialect
  • go abroad (somewhere in Asia, God willing), to share the Good News
  • learn to play a musical instrument
  • slow dance with the love of my life
  • plant my dream garden and mini-forest
  • learn to speak,read and write Elvish
  • name two of my future daughters “Alisea” and “Arwen”
  • visit my mother’s hometown in Mindanao
  • learn to swim
  • go to New Zealand, take the LOTR tour, and spend the day in a mountain meadow
  • climb a siresas (alatiris) tree again
  • learn sign language
  • watch a meteor shower